- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On September 13, 2013
- 2 Comments
- Atlanta Expansion, MLS Expansion
Here is what Straus had to say about the matter:
Multiple sources have confirmed that the league and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank are deep into discussions that likely would result in an MLS club sharing a downtown stadium with the NFL franchise. The Falcons intend to open a new $1 billion, retractable roof facility in 2017 adjacent to the Georgia World Congress Center, which is just north of the Georgia Dome.
It’s unclear whether Blank’s MLS team would launch in 2017 or join the league earlier and play in a temporary home. The new stadium is being designed with a wide, soccer-friendly field and MLS locker rooms. It also may feature a secondary retractable roof system that will cover the upper tiers, leaving approximately 27,000 seats available for league games. The Vancouver Whitecaps use a similar configuration at BC Place.
I have one source telling me at the moment that 2017 is the target date for launch of this club. It makes perfect sense given the stadium construction date for Atlanta.
I do like hearing the fact that this stadium will have a second retractable roof similar to BC Place in Vancouver to cover up the top tier of the stadium. That configuration works in Vancouver and I imagine it will do fine in Atlanta.
Atlanta is the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the U.S. by population, a massive transportation hub and it would serve as a natural rival for either Orlando, Miami or both. Blank tried to own a MLS club back in 2009 but lost out to the Pacific Northwest when MLS opted to add Portland and Vancouver.